'Serious incident' on Tui holiday flight to Majorca caused by IT blunder

A Tui flight to Mallorca suffered a “serious incident” caused by an IT error relating to the weight of the passengers. This was the result of an investigation.

The breakdown resulted in the aircraft taking off from Birmingham Airport with incorrect weight calculations as female passengers were classified as children with the title “Miss”.

The departure with 187 passengers on board was described by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) as a “serious incident”.

An update to the airline’s reservation system while their planes were landing due to the coronavirus pandemic resulted in 38 passengers on the flight being assigned a “standard weight” of 35kg for children, as opposed to the correct 69kg.

As a result, the load sheet, which was created to calculate what inputs are required for take-off, stated that the Boeing 737 was more than 1,200 kg lighter than it actually was.

The investigators described the fault as a “simple fault” in an IT system.

It was programmed in a nameless foreign country where the title “Miss” is used for a child and “Ms” for an adult woman.

Despite the problem, the thrust used to depart Birmingham on July 21 last year was only “slightly less” than it should have been, and the “safe operation of the aircraft has not been affected,” the AAIB said.

The same mistake resulted in two more Tui flights taking off later in the day with inaccurate loading bills from the UK.

The system was adjusted when the problem was first identified 11 days earlier, but this did not correct the weight entries for the July 21st flights.

The operator then introduced manual controls to ensure that adult women were identified as women in the relevant records.

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